Kitty Litter-A-Ture program: Children invited to read to rescued cats _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Frank Wilson, with his children Ash, 6, left, and Mckaela, 11, read "Merlin, the Cat Who Thought He Wasn't" on Sunday at Lafayette Animal Aid. The Wilsons were taking part in an Animal Aid program that involves children reading to cats.

Reading to cats might seem like a futile exercise, but for Lafayette Animal Aid, there’s a motive behind the feline madness.

The animal welfare and rescue group is inviting children ages 6 to 12 to come read to cats every Sunday for a program known as Kitty Litter-A-Ture.

Inviting young children to read to the rescued cats accomplishes two goals, cat coordinator Nichole Wilson said. The interaction between the children and the cats helps socialize the felines, and the experience teaches children how to appropriately behave around pets.

“And a lot of people come out because they’re just so happy to be here,” Wilson added.

The reading program is part of the organization’s work to become more interactive with the community.

There’s no pressure to adopt a pet, Wilson insists, but information is available if visitors think they might want to bring a cat or dog home.

The program sometimes serves as a test to see if a pet might be a good fit with a family’s children.

“It’s a good way to test your children, to see how they do around cats,” she said, “and to see how the cats react.”

The readings occur in the “Cat Cottage,” a building that houses the rescued cats.

Children can choose books that the organization provides or bring their own, and then make themselves comfortable and read.

Cat toys are available, as well.

“We have a few cute little kitty stories,” Wilson explained. “Most people bring their own books on their own reading levels.”

Many times, the cats curl up in the children’s laps or come close enough to pet, Wilson said.

Wilson has always been an animal lover, attending veterinary school and rescuing animals on her own.

She decided to be a stay-at-home mom when her baby was born but later longed for something additional to do.

“I got bored easily and I had to do something,” she said. “This is what I do for me.”

Kitty Litter-A-Ture is offered from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays at Lafayette Animal Aid, 142 Le Medicin Road, Carencro.

For information, call Wilson at (337) 896-1553.